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S.W. Florida Daily News


Scammers threaten to shut off electricity for businesses in Cape Coral

Scammers threaten to shut off electricity for businesses in Cape Coral
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CAPE CORAL, Fla.  — As electricity bills continue to rise in parts of Lee County, Fox 4 is learning about another threat to your money.

Darcy Boland, owner of Buffed & Bare spa in Cape Coral, said scammers are threatening to shut off the electricity.

A concerning threat for any business as hot Southwest Florida days force many of us to crank the air conditioning – which is just one potential factor driving up electricity bills.

Boland said it was the small details that gave away the scam when the call came in over the past weekend, The person on the other end claimed to be someone from Florida Power and Light.

“He wanted the payment right then and there on the phone,” said Boland.

An unusual call for Boland – who said her phone calls over the weekend usually consist of appointments being made for her business Buffed & Bare.

“It was a 239 number. It popped up on my phone saying they were from Florida Power and Light and that my bill was delinquent and if I did not pay it today, they would be over here taking out my service,” said Boland.

After more than six years of business in Cape Coral, Boland said she knows what she’s doing and who her electricity provider is.

“I said ‘nice try, we don’t use Florida Power and Light,’” said Boland.

In Cape Coral, electricity is provided by Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC).

On Wednesday, what Boland said concerned her, is that the scam comes at a time when people in Cape Coral are already struggling to pay their rising electric bills.

“They are so busy running their business they don’t realize it could be a scam,” said Boland.

Florida Power and Light (FPL) confirmed to Fox 4 that this is a scam that’s on the rise, but one that can be easily avoided by knowing a few simple guidelines.

“FPL is never going to call you with a sense of urgency and make you feel that you need to pay right now,” said FPL Spokesperson Ana Espinosa.

Espinosa said scammers are getting more creative, even disguising their caller ID.

“So it might look like FPL is calling you because they do have the ability to do that,” said Espinosa.

Espinosa said anytime you get a call asking for payment over the phone, it’s important to listen before making any quick decisions.

“My suggestion is to hang up the phone and call the number on your bill and talk to an actual FPL employee,” said Espinosa.

Espinosa says if the person calling you is asking for payment through cash apps like Venmo or Paypal, that’s another red flag.

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